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PLoS One. 2007 Nov 21;2(11):e1223.

The effect of real-world personal familiarity on the speed of face information processing.

Author information

1
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America. bjbalas@gmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Previous studies have explored the effects of familiarity on various kinds of visual face judgments, yet the role of familiarity in face processing is not fully understood. Across different face judgments and stimulus sets, the data is equivocal as to whether or not familiarity impacts recognition processes.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Here, we examine the effect of real-world personal familiarity in three simple delayed-match-to-sample tasks in which subjects were required to match faces on the basis of orientation (upright v. inverted), gender and identity. We find that subjects had a significant speed advantage with familiar faces in all three tasks, with large effects for the gender and identity matching tasks.

CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE:

Our data indicates that real-world experience with a face exerts a powerful influence on face processing in tasks where identity information is irrelevant, even in tasks that could in principle be solved via low-level cues. These results underscore the importance of experience in shaping visual recognition processes.

PMID:
18030351
PMCID:
PMC2074890
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0001223
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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